Futurize HealthTech Summit Ignites New Pathways for African Healthcare Innovation

The Futurize HealthTech Summit, a joint initiative by Futurize and AstraZeneca under the A.Catalyst Network, concluded this week, signaling a new era in African health technology. Hosted at Strathmore University Business School in Nairobi, the exclusive event welcomed over 120 attendees, each dedicated to enhancing the industry.

Experts engaged in critical discussions on nurturing healthtech ecosystems through collaboration among private, public, and academic entities as well as the role of academic institutions in innovation. “Fostering a thriving healthtech ecosystem goes beyond individual efforts; it hinges on our ability to connect, share insights, and build upon each other’s strengths. This collaborative approach is what we champion at AstraZeneca,” said Jonathan Calder, Head of Digital & IT, African Cluster at AstraZeneca. Other speakers included Dr. Amit Thakkar, Dr. Ismail Atetya, and Alexander Oketch.

As funding is a crucial part of the entrepreneurial journey, “Your second investor is your client, your first is yourself,” said Sewu-Steve Tawia, co-founder at Jaza Rift Ventures alongside fellow panelists Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani, Robert Karanja, and Dr. Emma Waiyaya, illuminating the dynamic nature of startup funding. Serving as a vital networking platform, numerous healthcare startups were present engaging with the ecosystem and connecting with potential investors. 

The Futurize HealthTech Summit spotlighted ten startups from the FuturizeU incubator, exemplifying the powerful combination of academic excellence and business savvy through the Fuel Africa Program. Innovations were on full display, with Vectorgram demonstrating advanced AI tools for early breast cancer diagnosis, and Tawi Health showcasing digital solutions to enhance healthcare accessibility. Another was MariTest who developed a bloodless diagnostic device that offers a non-invasive, automated method for malaria detection using AI and advanced sensor technology.

This year’s summit established a blueprint for ongoing collaboration, inviting policymakers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to further the dialogue and action towards a cohesive ecosystem. Rhea Singhla, co-founder of Futurize, stated, ‘We aim to not only continue this momentum but to elevate it, focusing on sustainable, accessible, and patient-centric solutions while bringing even more diverse voices to the stage,” highlighting the company’s commitment to advancing African healthcare innovation and plans for next year.

“Africa is the continent of the future. The future is not one narrative, the future is what we make of it. It is not technology that will define the future, it is us who are building, using, and deploying technology that will determine what the future will look like. The future is in our hands,” Caroline Mbindyo said, encapsulating the summit’s objective to Connect, Innovate, and Transform.

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